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What to think about before getting a job overseas.

If you are ready to take the plunge and attempt to work overseas, it's best to do your research before you take the first job you see on Craig's List and go getting off across the globe. I've been researching ESL jobs for a while now, and I've made this great list of things to look for when trying to get a job overseas.


The first thing you need to think about is location. Don't get sucked into a luxurious job with a fabulous salary and benefits if it's in a dangerous location, or place where you don't want to live.

Don't go work in China if you can't stand Chinese food. Don't go to Russia if you don't like cold weather.

Eastern Europe and South America have become popular teaching locations, but you need to consider the dangers involved. Some places may also be more dangerous for girls than guys, so please research the country or city where you want to work before you get there.

You may also want to consider if you want to live in a urban or rural area. In most cases you can defiantly save more money and practice your language skills more in the countryside, but there may be few things to do and less opportunities to hang out with people who speak English. You may also be the only foreigner in the town, and be stared at no matter where you go. This is great for people who enjoy the rock star effect, but it can be a lot of stress for others.
On the other hand big cities can also be a lot of fun, but the rent is usually more expensive and it may be harder to save money.

The school or companyNext you need to consider what sort of school or company that you would like to work for. These days there are hundreds of companies, so you need to consider whether you want to teach kindergarten, older children, or adults. There are also many part time jobs as well as full time contracts.

These days most English jobs are divided into regular schools and cram schools. Working at a regular public or private school means you may be there for the whole school day five days a week. You may also be given free periods and time between classes to plan your lessons. 

Most cram school jobs start late in the afternoon and finish in the evening. There may be fewer working hours, but you may be expected to do all your lesson planning and marking in your free time. This can be alright for some experienced teachers, but it means a lot of unpaid hours for new people. You may also have to work weekends with days off during the week.

Some great job hunting websites include Gaijinpot, Jobs inJapanOhayo Sensei, and Dave's ESL cafe which has jobs from all over the world.

A lot of countries have government teaching programs which can me more reliable to work for and usually have better working conditions. Here is a few of them here.

The Japanese JET program

The Korean government EPIK program

Teach in schools all over the world with British Council 

If you chose to work for a private company it can be quite risky. Especially in China and Korea, so make sure to do plenty of research on the company or school before signing any contracts. Check out their website, read blogs, and don't hesitate to email and ask any questions that you may have. There are plenty of great companies out there, but there are plenty of terrible ones as well. Here are some signs to look for while job searching.

 Not good signs
  • A salary less than average for a twelve month contract.
  • It's a small company, but they advertise for staff a lot, maybe a lot of people quit.
  • Less than two weeks paid holiday a year.
  • There’s company housing, but they won’t show you any pictures.
  • You need to pay them money if you don’t complete your contract, it’s like they’re afraid of you leaving.
Great signs
  • Transportation to work reimbursed
  • More than four weeks holiday
  • Paid accommodating during training
  • A bonus for finishing your one year contract, and they may even pay for your flight home.

Here are a few private companies that I would recommend. As well as some organisations that can help you get a job overseas.

Some companies may not pay your first salary until the first or second month, so you maybe need a large amount of money to support yourself until your first paycheck.

The money

How much they are going to pay you is always important, but many countries pay differently so try and work out the average salary of where you want to work. It is also fine to expect a little more money if you have a masters, a degree in education, or a few years of teaching experience.

A masters or a teaching degree can usually help get you a job at a private school or university, but finding a job can be a little tough for those who have just graduated from college.

You also need to take vacation and working hours into account as well. Two jobs may pay the same, but one may have longer holidays or shorter working hours.

Have a back-up plan

If you are going across the globe to work either alone or with friends, don't leave home without a back up plan in case things don't work out. The great apartment they promised you might be terrible, or maybe your job is completely different from what you thought it would be.

Make sure that you have enough money for a flight ticket home, or research other programs or activities that you can do in the country of your choice.

Do you have any other great advice on getting a job overseas? Feel free to comment below.

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